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« In Which We Tell You How To Live Your Life »

A Few Things You Need To Know About Living In New York


Living in New York? Me too. Here is a pocket list of information that may aid you in your quest to take a bite out of the big apple.

Good luck.

Things you will spend money on



Things you won't spend money on


Things you will accumulate

Cheap umbrellas

Plastic cutlery

Tote bags

Things you will not have inside your apartment

Clean towels

A kitchen counter


Interesting-shaped windows

Subway etiquette #1

Don't trim your nails on the subway.

Social warning #1

Low-income smokers in New York spend 25 percent of their income on cigarettes. Try to quit smoking.

Taxi cabs

Why are you taking a cab? The subway is faster and cheaper.

But okay. The main thing to remember with cabs is this: after you hail your cab, be sure to climb inside before directing the driver to your destination, especially if you are going to a different borough. If you stand outside and meekly suggest your outer-borough destination, the driver will simply shake his head and drive off.

This is crazy. You're a paying customer! You should not need to audition for a cab. It is also unlawful: drivers can be fined $500 for refusing to ferry customers from one part of the city to another part of the city. So get in the cab first and then tell the driver where you want to go.

Do not undertip.

Common sights you will see

Squashed rat

Bottle filled with pee

Mysteriously tiny drug bag (why is it so small?)

Social warning #2

Melodrama wrapped in sophistication is still melodrama.

Social warning #3

Your crackpot radar needs to grow exquisitely refined. This applies to strangers, obviously, but it also applies to acquaintances. Living in any large city means that your social circle grows exponentially, which in turn brings about a statistical increase in the likelihood of encountering iffy types.

Designer juice

Don’t be ridiculous. Unless you are pulling in more than 500K after taxes, you do not have $10 to spend on a bottle of juice.

Subway etiquette #2

SCENE: A man leans against a subway pole on a crowded 2 train at 4 p.m.

Woman: This pole isn’t for you to lean on. It’s for people to hold on to.

Man: Is there a sign that says that? You see a sign?

Woman: I don’t HAVE to. It’s a crowded train. Stand up like a man.

Man: Woman, don’t loud-talk me.



God, don't let this happen to you. Avoid leaning on the pole.

Subway etiquette #3

Situation: A train pulls into the station. It is packed except for one car, which is curiously empty. Do not board the empty car. It is empty because something truly terrible has happened there.

Social warning #4

Learn to say "no".

Coming soon: Part II.

Nobody died and made Molly Young expert. She writes for GQ and New York magazine. She is the senior contributor to This Recording. You can find her Twitter here and her tumblr here.

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Reader Comments (7)

Thank you for writing this info. I laughed hysterically. You summed up NYC so well. I have written my own notes on the woahs of life in NYC as well.

I will be sharing this with my co-workers.
October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJerzee
Why don't you have any clean towels in your apartment?
October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobert
Suboptimal towels because nobody owns a washer/dryer. Duh.
October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMolly
Hilarious, totally worth spamming people with this article. Done.
October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChris
This was hilarious. I wrote my own about living in D.C., hope you don't mind that I linked back to your post!

October 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEmma Chadband
too true, i am drowning in cheap umbrellas & tote bags to a level that does not make sense
October 22, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter@sarahspy
God, I never thought about the unclean-towel situation but it's so true. This is living.
October 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Lisa

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